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December 15, 2021 13 mins

It's the end of the year so we thought we might give you some advice on how to better pick out a charity, Short Stuff style.

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
Hey, and welcome to the Short Stuff you generous person. You.
I'm Josh and there's Chuck and this is short stuff. Uh,
and that means what we should begin now, that's right. Uh.
This is from our buddy day Ruse and how Stuff
works from their website. And this is one that I
want to wedge in there before the end of the year,
because if anyone is like me, you have a mad

(00:26):
scramble at the end of the year to find the
charity that you want to align with or charities. And
I feel like we do that every year and we're
doing that again this year. So this is some This
is one of those good helpful advice ones about how
to find and suss out the good ones. Yeah, And
it basically comes down to this. There are groups and
organizations that have websites that are dedicated to pointing you

(00:49):
in the right direction to where you can confidently and
comfortably donate your money and know that it's being put
to good use and also which one is to steer
clear of too. So um, there's a bunch of like
different points that this covers. I think this is just
a helpful one. Check it was a good pick. Yeah,
those sites and we're gonna talk about. You know, Dave
interviewed some of these people from these sites. But charity

(01:11):
watch and give well, Uh, those are the two standards
if you want to go find out if these charities
that you're looking into her good and worthy and honest
and effective. That's where you should start. But you should
also dig into like if your first question is are
they effective, dig into the charity a little bit. Go
to their website. They will probably if there are a

(01:31):
charity worth supporting, have an outcome section uh in their
annual report and check it out and see, you know,
if they have concrete goals that say we fed this
many people this year, or with this much money, we
can house this many people. That's a really good first
thing to look for. Yeah, and you might say, huh,
that seems pretty good. All right, here's a check kind

(01:53):
of thing. Um. You can also go to other sites
like charity watch, Give Well, Charity Navigators another good one,
and um they've done a lot of this this homework
for you, and in particular give well um has identified
like nine particular areas that certain charities are like really
killing it at. And the the idea is is that

(02:15):
these charities that they've picked that you can go and
be like, I'm picking this, and you will know you're
you're donating to one of the top best charities that's
going to put your money to the best use that
you could possibly find. Um. And the criteria is that
they are evidence based, so they can definitely show that
the money you're you're donating is having an effect, um
their cost effective, which kind of ties into that. They're

(02:38):
also very transparent. That's a really big one too. You
don't want it to be opaque and you want to
be able to get a straight answer about how your
money is being used. And then lastly, and this is
really important check that I think a lot of people
don't think about they're underfunded, that they need money, they
actually need money, because there's a lot of charities out
there that actually don't need your money. Um, they're doing
just fine. These guys pick charities that I actually need

(03:00):
money that can really make a big impact with that money. Yeah,
and if you know, if you don't have a lot
of money to give, it's not like you know, some
places need you know, millions and millions of dollars to
build this new big whatever. Some charities, uh that they
mentioned from give Well, Like it doesn't cost a lot
of money to get uh insecticide treated nets to people

(03:23):
who UH to you know, in countries where they have
a malaria problem, so you know, give a little bit
of money to them, you'll know that you paid for
this many nets. And it's a really sort of inexpensive
way to make a difference if you don't have a
lot of doughe to give away exactly. Um. They also
they focus on give Well in particular focuses on global
health and global global poverty because those are the two

(03:44):
areas where like a little bit can make a big,
big difference, like literally saving lives with just you know,
a few dollars a year. Yeah. Um. Another question is
if you start to dig into charities, you're gonna find
like one of the things they broadcast is how much
their executives make, um, how much their overhead is administrative costs?

(04:05):
Another big one is fundraising costs. How much money do
they have to spend to raise a dollar in in donations?
And even when you start to dig into him, you
might not really have much frame of reference, like is
half a million dollars like or a million dollars? Is
that a lot like that seems like a lot for
somebody who's running a charity, but is it. And these
sites have actually kind of gone to the trouble of

(04:26):
like really getting into the nitty gritty to say like, actually,
this is a really good charity despite that metric. Yeah,
Like what you need to look at is percentages, and
they will help you break it down, or the website
usually breaks it down for you. But they recommend to
look for a minimum of sixty of the charity's budget
going on direct program services. And if you really want

(04:48):
like an efficient charity, that'll be closer to but not
to be um, like, don't look at the raw numbers
because just because the charity like spends next to nothing
doesn't mean that could make them actually less effective running
on a shoestring. Like you got to spend a little
money to a raise the money like you talked about
and to be effective. So uh, don't just look at

(05:12):
a larger number for administrative costs and dismiss it out
of hand. You want to look at that percentage. Yeah.
Another thing that they do is also they see through
the or they know the kind of tricks that some
less reputable charities will do to make themselves feel look
more efficient, like they attract more money. Um. And so
they'll have sorted through all this when you go to

(05:33):
like these sites. And also, just while we're talking about this, Chuck,
our beloved co ED Cooperative for Education, UM, so highly
efficient charity spends about sev on programming. Co ED spends
eighty five point two percent directly to program and also
there there um uh you know Joe the executive director,

(05:55):
he breaks in seventy five grand a year for this
and he's he runs the show. Um. They also have
an efficiency rating to where they spend nine cents for
every dollar that they raise in donations, which is really outstanding.
Plus lastly, Chuck, they're underfunded too. They can survive one
point five seven years on their current funds, which means

(06:16):
that they can actually use the money that you send
them and then you you'll know they're putting it to
good use. To Yeah, I mean, some of these charities
that you go to can survive the next twenty years,
like without getting another dollar, which is great. That means
a lot of people have given. But maybe maybe seek
out the underfunded is some good advice. Should we take
a break. Yeah, let's all right, we'll take a break

(06:37):
and we'll be right back with a few more tips
for you. All right, good tips so far? Another one

(07:13):
so far? I agree? And boy that's I knew that
about co ED, but every time I hear it, it's
just heartwarming. It's a good a good charity that we
got aligned with many years ago. Uh. One question that
a lot of people ask is it better to give
small donations to a few charities are one bigger donation
to one? And you know this sort of is a
personal decision to a large degree. Uh, what they really

(07:38):
suggest is don't just spread it around to spread it around,
only spread it around if you can really dig in
and do this kind of research to make sure you're
doing the right thing. Yes, which is a great I mean,
that's just great advice. Like you you you, it doesn't
seems as long as you're you're not following for like
the marketing and you're actually like giving each charity that

(07:59):
you're you're you're donating to like the same amount of
thought that you would if you just focused on one.
Why not? It doesn't hurt at all. Um. But there's
a person over at give well, um who points out, like,
if you're going to if you're going to pick a charity, though,
there's a way you can even maximize it further, which
is to give a roughly the same amount every year

(08:20):
about the same time every year, because then they'll start
to see that, oh, wait, we can depend on this
this check from Chuck, who's a super nice guy. He
sends it in every year, and they'll actually like figure
that into their budget and then start planning according accordingly,
rather than being like, we can only afford this this
year and then all of a sudden they have more
money for nets, but they didn't order nets early enough

(08:41):
and now there's a problem and malaria's still spreading. They'll
be able to budget for more nets if they know
that there's a certain amount coming from you each year.
That's right. And if you give them a pretty good
donation that they'll probably email you and say, hey, this
is great. Uh, can we count on you for next year? Yeah,
because you know, they gotta they got to figure out
that budget and it really helps them to know what

(09:03):
they're looking at year after year. But that's right. Also, Chuck,
if it's if it's really big enough and it's a
terrible charity, they'll send you a gold plated diamond encrusted
malaria as a thank you gift so you can wear
it around to fancy holiday parties and just be like,
oh this, I got this for donating. Another question is

(09:24):
you know, are you being scammed as this charity of fraud?
There are frauds, for sure, I think in Dave points
out that the FTC investigated and found more than a
hundred actions against dozens of fraudulent charities. Uh. Sadly, a
lot of these were claiming to serve US military veterans
in their families, which is just reprehensible of course, but uh,

(09:48):
it doesn't happen as much as you might be afraid
it does. But you need to like make sure you're
donating to the charity. A lot of them have similar
names to really great charities. So one example that they
pointed out was the Breast Cancer Research Foundation versus the
Breast Cancer Research and Support Foundation. And Breast Cancer Research

(10:09):
Foundation is great. They get an A plus and their
budget goes to supporting breast cancer research and they spend
seven dollars for every one raises. The Breast Cancer Research
and Support Foundation earns an f from charity Watch eight
percent eight percent of its budget goes to to actual programming,
and it spends eighty seven dollars for every hundred that

(10:32):
it collects. Yeah, not on programming, yeah A seven Yeah,
go on gold plated mosquito nets. Probably maybe, But you know,
that's just a point. It's like, I'm not gonna like
call them a scam or anything, so I haven't done
a lot of research on them, but those numbers are
really bad, and their name is awfully close to a
really good breast cancer organization. Yeah, and the fact that
they are just seems a little fishy. But I think

(10:54):
and even an even bigger trap that you have to
watch out for, especially if you're trying to suss out
whether a charity is good when are not on your own,
is that, Um, there's a lot of charities out there
that just they mean well and they're trying to do well,
they're just not that good at it, and so your
money is just not going to be spent as wisely
as it might with another charity. Again, the way to

(11:14):
resolve this is to just go to charity watch, Charity Navigator,
give Well, some of those sites that really know what
they're doing, and say, oh, this is highly rated, I'll
give them some money. Yeah. I think sometimes people forget
these are nonprofit businesses, and running a business is still
running a business, and some people aren't very good at it.
That's right. What was the last one here? The last

(11:35):
one is and a lot of people want to give
locally to help their communities, and that is absolutely great, um,
But the but don't do it well. The thing is
is if you are doing that, there's a good chance
that if you stop and reflect on it, you might
come to the conclusion that you're doing this to feel
good about yourself, maybe to to the for the fields

(11:57):
you get out of it. And if you really stop
and look at um with a just a just a
kind of sober view of how to help the most
people with the you know, whatever money you're donating, you're
probably going to find that there's people outside of your community,
whether you wherever you live in the developed world that
it might even benefit from it more. Who knows. I

(12:18):
don't think anybody in charity says don't give locally. It's
just saying don't overlook global charities, including big ones, um
entirely in favor of giving locally, like consider consider both. Yeah,
and I think one piece of a device they gave.
Which is really good is look at it from a
cause point of view, Like if you're uh, if you're

(12:38):
into the environment, let's say, and you really want to
support the environment as your only cause this year or
next year or every year, maybe look into a local
thing that's doing something like planting trees locally in neighborhoods.
And then maybe also look at a big global environmental
uh cause that can our charity that can really have
a big impact. And that way you're kind of spreading

(12:58):
the wealth and covering a cause that you love in
both ways. That's right. Good. Whatever you do, just make
sure that you're you're giving to a good charity. And
bless you for for donating in the first place. However
you donate, blesses everyone. But since Chuck said blesses everyone,
of course everyone, that means short stuff is out. Stuff

(13:20):
you should know is a production of I Heart Radio.
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Josh Clark

Chuck Bryant

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